Electric plugs in the UAE are the “Type G” British BS-1363 type. The plug has two flat metal pins that run horizontally in a straight line and a third flat grounding pin oriented horizontally above the others. See the illustration in the column at right.
Electric Plug Adapter
Electric plugs used in the UK, Ireland, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and some African and Middle Eastern countries are also of the British Type G model, so electronics and appliances from those countries generally may be used in the UAE without an adapter. Electric plugs from other countries require a plug adapter, which is available both online and in stores from travel companies, drugstores, and big-box stores. Note that an adapter allows a foreign device to plug into a UAE outlet, but it does not change the electric voltage coming out of the UAE outlet.
Using Home-country Appliances and Devices in the UAE
The feasibility of using home-country electrical appliances and electronic devices in the UAE depends on a number of factors, including the type of appliance or device and the voltage on which it operates.
Electrical appliances are high-wattage items that use a mechanical motor or heating element (e.g., hair dryers, curling irons). If the appliance operates between 220–240 volts, 50 Hz, it may still require a plug adapter, but it will work in the UAE without a voltage converter.
If the appliance operates between 110–120 volts, 60 Hz (as with appliances from most North and South American countries), it may require both an adapter and a voltage converter/transformer. The converter/transformer adjusts the power coming from the 230V outlet down so that the 120V appliance is not overloaded. You can purchase dual-voltage hair dryers and curling irons that work with multiple electric currents. See “Dual- or Multi-Voltage Devices” below.
Electronic devices are low-wattage items that use chips, circuits, or electronic motors (e.g., computers, printers, cell phones, and cameras). As with appliances, these devices may require use of a plug adapter. However, most of these devices run on dual- or multi-voltage chargers, which means they can operate using either 120V or 240V electric current. See “Dual- or Multi-Voltage Devices” below. If an electronic device is not dual- or multi-voltage and operates between 110–120 volts, it will require a transformer to adjust the power coming from a 220–240V outlet.
Dual- or Multi-Voltage Devices
Many electronic devices like cell phones, cameras, and computers have multi- or dual-voltage chargers that can operate on 100V current, 240V current, or something in between. Whether it is or dual- or multi-voltage will be indicated on the device’s power label. Dual-voltage is symbolized by a slash between the numbers, 120V/240V, meaning it will operate on either of the two specific voltages. Multi-voltage is symbolized by a dash between the numbers, 100V–240V, meaning it will operate on any voltage between 100V and 240V.
If an electronic device is either dual- or multi-voltage, a voltage converter or transformer is not necessary (though a plug adaptor may still be).
Converters are used only for high-wattage electrical appliances with mechanical motors or heating elements (e.g., hair dryers and curling irons). Electrical appliances that require short-term or sporadic usage generally use converters.
Transformers are used for both high-wattage electrical appliances as well as low-wattage electronic devices that use electronic chips or circuits, such as computers and printers. Transformers are typically used for items requiring one or more hours of continual usage.
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